1961 in spaceflight

Summary

1961 in spaceflight
Vostok 1 after landing.jpg
The Vostok 1 spacecraft, aboard which Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth on 12 April 1961
Orbital launches
First31 January
Last22 December
Total50
Successes28
Failures20
Partial failures2
Catalogued36
National firsts
Spaceflight Italy
Space traveller Soviet Union
 United States
Rockets
Maiden flightsAtlas LV-3A Agena-B
Kosmos-2I 63S1
Saturn I (suborbital test)
RetirementsAtlas LV-3A Agena-A
Juno II
Crewed flights
Orbital2
Suborbital2
Total travellers4

OverviewEdit

Human spaceflightEdit

The first crewed spaceflight mission was Vostok 1 ("East 1"), carrying the 27-year-old Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, on 12 April 1961. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the globe, lasting about 1 hour and 48 minutes.[1]

On 5 May 1961, NASA astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space with his Freedom 7 spacecraft travelling on a suborbital trajectory. Unlike Vostok 1, the mission featured the first manual controlling of the spacecraft and the presence of the pilot within it during landing, the latter making it the first "completed" human spaceflight by formalistic interpretation of past Fédération Aéronautique Internationale definitions.[1][2][3]

Deep Space RendezvousEdit

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
19 May Venera 1 First flyby of Venus Spacecraft was already non-functional as communication had been lost en route, closest approach: 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi)

Notable creations of orbital debrisEdit

Date/Time (UTC) Source object Event type Pieces tracked Remarks
29 June[4] Thor-Able upper stage of Transit 4A navigation satellite Rocket explosion 294[4] First explosion of a rocket stage in orbit creating hundreds of debris pieces

Orbital launch summaryEdit

By countryEdit

 
  Soviet Union
  United States
Orbital launch attempts by country in 1961
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
  Soviet Union 9 5 4 0
  United States 41 23 16 2

By rocketEdit

Rocket Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Atlas LV-3A Agena-A   United States 1 1 0 0 Retired
Atlas LV-3A Agena-B   United States 7 2 4 1 Maiden flight
Atlas LV-3B   United States 3 2 1 0 First orbital launch
RM-90 Blue Scout II   United States 1 0 1 0 First orbital launch
Juno II   United States 3 1 2 0 Retired
Kosmos-2I 63S1   Soviet Union 2 0 2 0 Maiden flight
Molniya 8K78   Soviet Union 2 1 1 0
Scout X-1   United States 3 1 2 0
Thor DM-21 Ablestar   United States 3 2 0 1
Thor DM-21 Agena-B   United States 17 11 6 0
Thor DM-19 Delta   United States 3 3 0 0
Vostok-K 8K72K   Soviet Union 5 4 1 0

By orbitEdit

Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not Achieved Accidentally Achieved Remarks
Low Earth 41 28 13 3
Medium Earth 1 1 0 0
High Earth 6 2 4 0 Including Highly elliptical orbits
Heliocentric 2 1 1 0

ReferencesEdit

Generic references:
  Spaceflight portal
  • Bergin, Chris. "NASASpaceFlight.com".
  • Clark, Stephen. "Spaceflight Now".
  • Kelso, T.S. "Satellite Catalog (SATCAT)". CelesTrak.
  • Krebs, Gunter. "Chronology of Space Launches".
  • Kyle, Ed. "Space Launch Report". Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  • McDowell, Jonathan. "Jonathan's Space Report".
  • Pietrobon, Steven. "Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive".
  • Wade, Mark. "Encyclopedia Astronautica".
  • Webb, Brian. "Southwest Space Archive".
  • Zak, Anatoly. "Russian Space Web".
  • "ISS Calendar". Spaceflight 101.
  • "NSSDCA Master Catalog". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • "Space Calendar". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • "Space Information Center". JAXA.
  • "Хроника освоения космоса" [Chronicle of space exploration]. CosmoWorld (in Russian).

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Famous milestones in space". MSN. Archived from the original on 22 July 2022. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  2. ^ Furniss, Tim (2007). Praxis manned spaceflight log, 1961-2006. New York: Springer. ISBN 0387341757.
  3. ^ ("FAI Astronautic Records Commission – Sporting Code Section 8" (PDF). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2006.)
  4. ^ a b Orbital Debris: A Chronology (PDF). NASA JSC. January 1999. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 September 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2016. Two hours after separating from the U.S. Transit 4-A satellite, its Able Star upper stage becomes the first known artificial object to break up unintentionally in space. The cause of the explosion is unknown. The event produces at least 294 trackable pieces, more than tripling the number of known satellites of Earth.